Yangyel Lhaden 

After a prolonged delay, the construction of the 3km four-lane road between Jungshina and the Bhutan Telecom office in Chubachu in Thimphu is expected to be completed by the end of this month, Thimphu Thromde officials said.

The project, which started in May 2020, was originally slated for completion by May 2021. However, the deadline has been rescheduled to the end of October, due to the pandemic.

Thimphu Thromde project engineer, Ngawang Tashi, said that the thromde has been working on the project for about a year, including the three months when the country was in lockdown.

Installation of streetlights, construction of reinforced cement concrete (RCC) drains, footpaths, and blacktopping of roads are underway. In the past four days, they have blacktopped about 250 metres of road.

There are about 150 workers working from 6am to 11pm. Work was carried out nearly around the clock in August after the thromde came under pressure for the slow progress of the work.

Ngawang Tashi said that almost 90 percent of the work is complete. He said that the thromde started blacktopping as soon as the monsoon rain stopped. “Bitumen, which is used in blacktopping, is highly reactive to moisture, which deteriorates the quality of the road.”

He said that the blacktopping work had to be stalled for a few days last week due to rain. “We don’t want to compromise the quality of the road, as there are enough raw materials stocked up for blacktopping.”

In the first phase of the project, the work was divided among about 15 contractors. The thromde is executing earthworks, including blacktopping, while contractors are engaged in the construction of RCC drains, footpaths and installation of street lights.

Ngawang Tashi said that all work was carried out by locals. He said that the design changed from hume pipes to RCC drains, due to the lack of suppliers in India and delay in import of the materials. “It took weeks to train Bhutanese workers in the construction of RCC drains, as the work requires expertise,” he said.

Meanwhile, Passang Construction is also determined to complete the improvement of five junctions in Thimphu Thromde by the end of October.

The work to improve the junctions near Druk School, Chundu Sawmill, and Cafe 6 have been completed. Work is in the final stages at the swimming pool junction and the road stretching from the flyover bridge to Deki School in Changzamtok.

Project director of Passang Construction, Jigme Lhendup, said the blacktopping from the flyover bridge to Deki School would be completed within the next five days if it doesn’t rain, and if the project has sufficient materials.

The construction company, he said, had won eight junction improvement projects initially, but the thromde later deferred the plans to improve the junctions at Norling Building above Rinchen Kuenphen Primary School, Sangay Sales at Hongkong Market, and from the multi-level parking lot to the milk booth.

Edited by Tshering Palden